NFL bettors know that winning games & covering spreads comes down to running the ball, stopping the run and owning the clock. When we find teams with advantages in those areas, we back 'em.
Dallas -7/45.5 vs. Jacksonville
The Cowboys, with Tony Romo back in the saddle, try to snap a two-game losing streak as they take on the 1-8 Jaguars in London.
Dallas, powered by RB DeMarco Murray, had won six in a row, but got upset at home by Washington, and last week, without an injured Romo, lost at home to Arizona 28-17. But word is that Romo is ready to go this weekend, although hopefully he'll do a lot of handing off to Murray. The former Oklahoma Sooner has topped 100 yards rushing in eight games this season; the Cowboys are 6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS in those games.
Dallas leads the league in rushing this season at 153 yards per game, and has outrushed opponents by 40 YPG. The Cowboys also ranks third in time-of-possession, holding the ball for over 33 minutes per game.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, has won one game this season, and covered just two spreads. The Jags rank 30th in total offense, 27th in total defense and 29th in time-of-possession, and seven of their eight losses have come by at least eight points. Why would Sunday be any different?
Romo plays a key part in this pick, of course, but the real key for Dallas is running the ball with Murray. One compliments the other. We look for the Cowboys to break back into the win column Sunday, with room to spare for the cover.
Free NFL Pick: Dallas -7 at Pinnacle
Denver -11/49 vs. Oakland
The 6-2 Broncos, coming off a thumping in New England, return to AFC West play when they visit 0-8 Oakland.
Denver had won and covered four games in a row, until getting bulldozed by the Patriots last week in Foxboro. But that's forgivable; we know who the Broncos are. They rank fifth in total offense, seventh in total defense and lead the league against the run, allowing just 72 yards per game on the ground. They're also 6-3-1 ATS the last 10 times they've been lined as double-digit favorites in NFL odds.
The Raiders, on the other hand, still haven't won a game this season, and while they covered as big dogs last week at Seattle they got held to a total of 226 yards of offense. Oakland ranks dead last in the league in total offense, rushing and time-of-possession, and 27th against the run. It's almost a wonder the Raiders are 4-4 ATS.
Since QB Peyton Manning joined the team Denver is 4-0 SU, 3-0-1 ATS against Oakland, winning those four games by an average score of 34-14. And the Broncos have the bounce-back factor on their side. Sunday's outcome should run something similar.
Free NFL Pick: Denver -10.5 at The Greek
Elsewhere on the Board
Miami is coming off a 37-0 whitewash of San Diego, but might be ripe for a letdown. Detroit, meanwhile, had last week off, and might get back both WR Calvin Johnson and RB Reggie Bush. We'll go with the Lions at -2.5 at You Wager.
Baltimore is outrushing opponents by 35 YPG this season; Tennessee is getting outrushed by 34 YPG. So far this season teams that outrush their opponents are 88-47 SU and 88-43 ATS. We'll take the Ravens at -9.5 for one of our Week 10 NFL picks.
Green Bay does some things very well, and some things not so well. At the moment the Packers rank dead last in the league against the run, giving up 153 YPG on the ground, which is part of the reason they also rank just 27th in time-of-possession. And teams that have lost the time-of-possession battle this season are just 44-87 ATS. Chicago, meanwhile, is 3-2 both SU and ATS on the road.
Free NFL Picks: Lions at -2.5, Ravens at -9.5, Bears at +8.5